'Kung Fu Panda 3' Moves Out of 2015 to Avoid 'Star Wars'

"Kung Fu Panda 2"
DreamWorks Animation

The sequel as grossed $663 million, 5% more than the original.

The switch is expected to leave DreamWorks Animation with only one other film in 2015

Making further changes to their upcoming slate, DreamWorks Animation and partner 20th Century Fox are pushing back Kung Fu Panda 3 from Dec. 23, 2015, to March 18, 2016.

Fox says it didn'twant the threequel to get caught in the wake of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in theaters six days earlier, on Dec. 18. The much-anticipated Star Wars, from Lucasfilms and Disney, is sure to appeal heavily to families over the year-end holidays.

"This is part of our constantly reevaluating the competitive landscape, as we do with all of our films," said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson.

Yet the switch likely leaves Jeffrey Katzenberg's company with only one theatrical release in 2015 after Home (March 27). DWA is planning to take animated tentpole B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations off the summer 2015 calendar, according to sources, although that film has yet to be officially moved.

Another DWA film, Boss Baby, was already slotted to open on March 18, 2016. The decision to put Kung Fu Panda 3 there means Boss Baby will be moved as well, although a new release date hasn't been announced yet.

The shuffling comes as DWA ponders its fate after two unsuccessful attempts to sell. Last week, merger talks fell through with Hasbro, while talks collapsed in September with Japanese giant Softbank.

Dec. 11, 1:15 a.m. Updated with quote from Fox.